To start off, I partially skim the cream off the milk to get 8 gallons of partially skimmed milk.
When the milk gets to 90 degrees. Turn off the heat and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of thermophilic culture over the top of the milk. I get my cultures, rennet, and cheese making supplies from www.thecheesemaker.com and have found his prices to be spot on competitive. He also has great turn around on products and wonderful customer service.
For this recipe, the culture then sits in the milk for just 15 minutes with the cover on the pot to hold the 90 degree temperature.
Then stir the milk again and add in a 1/2 cup of water that has been mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons of rennet. Make sure to stir the rennet into the cultured milk really well, just like the culture had been stirred in, with about 20 up and down strokes, otherwise the cheese will not set properly.
Now cover and let the pot sit for 1 hour maintaining the 90 degree temperature. Just a note on maintaining temperature. If you are making a small batch of cheese you will not be able to just turn off the heat and expect your cheese to maintain the same temperature unless your room is 88 degrees also. But if you make a large batch with 8 gallons, it takes a long time for that must heat to disburse. I have found that making larger batches is just easier for me since I have so much milk on hand and temperature maintenance is not a problem.
|Yes, it is a HUGE pot|
Let the curds settle for 5 minutes then turn the heat back on a temperature between medium and medium high until the curds and whey heat up to 117 degrees Fahrenheit. This step should take about 40 minutes if heated at the right temperature.
Let the curds then settle to the bottom while sterilizing your draining colander and mould.
If you are making a pressed cheese, then scoop the curds out of the pot (watch out 117 degrees is a bit hot on bare hands) and put them into a colander that has been lined with a natural cheese cloth and then a poly cheese cloth (the poly inside is necessary since curds this warm will knit right to the cloth and you will ruin your cloth and lose a lot of cheese when you change the cloth after an hour of pressing - take it from someone who knows all too well this happens.)
When the 12 hours are done, mix 1 cup of pickling salt with about 2 inches of cold water in a plastic container (see below). And place the unwrapped cheese into the salt water brine. Just a quick note, I cut my cheese into 2 pieces at this point because when I long term store my cheese for aging I vacuum seal them and the full cheese is too big for the sealing bags I use. If you want a full round you do not have to cut your cheese in half like I do.
Now, if you are making cheese curds the process from here is much simpler. Just scoop the curds out of the pot, drain, and then break them up into a sanitized plastic tub.
Sprinkle the cheese with salt (however much you desire).
Then put the cheese into a container. This recipe makes about a gallon of cheese.